Why are there iron crucifixes attached to the building next to Fran’s Diner on College Street?
Why are there iron crucifixes attached to the building next to Fran’s Diner on College Street?—Tessa Wong, Kensington
The stately stone office building’s current tenant is SBR Global, a high-powered international consulting firm, the type that usually steers clear of any references to higher powers. But the Graeme Building, as it is known, hasn’t always been home to management consultants. Its assortment of tenants has included the CBC and Eaton’s Life Insurance. In the ’80s, it hosted a storied wine bar called the Hop & Grape, which regulars took to calling the “Hope & Grope.” The crucifixes date back to the original tenant, the Upper Canada Bible Society, who decamped in 1964, leaving its crosses behind. To this day, the society is still in the business of handing out Bibles, albeit from a somewhat less prestigious address in northeast Toronto. The building has several other features that might catch your eye: its lobby has a great big seal of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg inlaid in the floor (SBR Global’s chairman is Luxembourg’s honorary consul in Toronto). You may also notice the top four storeys are of a distinctive yellow-hued brick. When they were added in the ’30s, Maple Leaf Gardens was under construction just down the road. The Graeme Building’s upper floors were built with the same bricks.